photo of Don Boyes

Don Boyes, Ph.D., FRCGS
Associate Dean, Teaching & Learning, Arts & Science
Academic Director, Arts and Science Online Learning Academy
Professor, Teaching Stream
Dept. of Geography and PlanningUniversity of Toronto

I specialize in teaching the theory and application of geographic information systems (GIS) to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Toronto.  I have taught several GIS courses that draw students from a wide variety of disciplines. I also offer four online GIS courses through Coursera that are massive open online courses (MOOCs).

I serve as the Associate Dean, Teaching & Learning for the Faculty of Arts & Science, and my responsibilities include supporting innovation and improvements in undergraduate teaching both in and outside of the classroom, as well as related technological platforms.

As the Director of the Arts & Science Online Learning Academy, I work with a talented team of staff to support all A&S instructors who would like to improve their students’ learning experience with digital teaching and learning tools and methods.

As a full professor in the teaching stream, I am a full-time, permanent faculty member specializing in teaching. I have a strong interest in teaching and learning with technology and associated pedagogical development, and I sit on several related committees at the university.

Our department is one of the oldest and largest geography departments in North America, with over 2,500 undergraduate and 200 graduate students enrolled in geography courses each term on the downtown (St. George) campus.  The University of Toronto is Canada’s largest university, with over 75,000 students enrolled across three campuses.


Ph.D. University of Western Ontario (1999)
M.Sc. University of Western Ontario (1991)
B.Sc. Queen’s University (1989)

Honours & Awards

Canadian Association of Geographers Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography (2015)
President’s Teaching Award (2014)
Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award (2008)
APUS-SAC Undergraduate Teaching Award (2001)
Dean’s Excellence Award (2003-2006, 2009-2016)
Fellow, Royal Canadian Geographical Society (2011)
Panhellenic Society of the University of Western Ontario, for Excellence in Teaching (1995)


Closing Plenary, May 13, 2022, University of Toronto Teaching & Learning Symposium, panel member (invited) with Susan McCahan, Rhonda McEwen, 1.5 hours.

The Arts & Science Digital Learning Strategy, for the U of T President’s Teaching Academy, January 22, 2022. 0.5 hour

Pedagogies for Resilient GIScience Education: Pedagogies for Resilient GIScience Education – Americas Panel, Aug. 4, 2020, online, part of the Global Science Education initiative sponsored by the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, panel member (invited) with Anthony Robinson, Maria Adames, and Tora Johnson. (video)

Moving Courses Online, webinar, March 16, 2020, Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto.

Incorporating Technology to Enhance Student Experience, Graduate Chairs and SGS Dean meeting, Feb. 7, 2019, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

Remembering John Shaw, Aug. 11, 2018, (video), invited to speak at session Reflections on the Life and Career of John Shaw, Joint Meeting of the Canadian and American Quaternary Associations, Ottawa, Aug. 11, 2018.

Teaching with Quercus (Canvas): My Experience Teaching 3 Courses Online, Hybrid & Seminar, May 11, 2018, Quercus Day, Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation, University of Toronto.

Quercus (Canvas) Early Adopters Panel Q&A, panel member, May 11, 2018, Quercus Day, Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation, University of Toronto.

Quercus (Canvas) Early Adopters Panel Q&A, panel member, May 7, 2018, Quercus Day, Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre, University of Toronto, Mississauga.

Post-graduate and career options in GIS: Where can I go from here?, Toronto Undergraduate Geography Society, University of Toronto, Nov. 2, 2017.

Personalized, problem-based learning using a blended course model, GIS in Education and Research Conference, Toronto, Oct. 11, 2017.

Is it live, online, or both?, Colloquium speaker series, Department of Geography, York University, February 26, 2016.

Welcome to my classroom, University of Toronto Teaching and Learning Symposium (invited), Toronto, Nov. 3, 2014.

Is it live, online or both? Teaching strategies for the new digital classroom, co-presenter with Franco Taverna, University of Toronto Teaching and Learning Symposium (peer reviewed), Toronto, Oct. 28, 2013.

Journeys: Mapping the World from a Laptop, co-presenter with Barbara Murck and Andrew Nicholson, University of Toronto Teaching and Learning Symposium (peer reviewed), Toronto, Oct. 28, 2013.

Giving students choices about when and where they learn: teaching GIS both online and in person, GIS in Education Conference (peer reviewed), Toronto, Oct. 17, 2013.

Opportunities in GIS education: meeting the needs of students, panel member with Bob Sharpe, James Boxall, Mark Lowry, and Kim Wallace, GIS in Education Conference (by invitation), Toronto, Oct. 17, 2013.

Online Learning – Beyond Content to “Aha moments” for Both Faculty and Students, panel member with Laurie Harrison, Steve Joordens, and Shafique Virani.  University of Toronto Teaching and Learning Symposium, (peer reviewed), Nov. 5, 2012, Toronto.

Inside, Outside, Upside Down: New Directions in Teaching and Learning, co-presenter with Lena Paolo Kushnir and Kenneth Berry.  University of Toronto Teaching and Learning Symposium (peer reviewed), Nov. 5, 2012, Toronto.

GIS in Higher Education, panel member with Joseph Berry, David Buckley, Andrew Lyszkiewicz, GeoTec Event (invited), Toronto, April 13-15, 2010.


Farrah Nasser, 2016, July 27. Interviewed for story “Pokémon Lessons”, Global News at 5:30.

Needleman, Sarah E., 2016, July 13.  ‘Pokémon Go’ Craze Raises Safety Issues, The Wall Street Journal.

Pasca, T., 2015, Jan. 14. From Notebook to Netbook: A Look at How Technology is Being Incorporated into Academic Settings, The Varsity, under Features.

Mansour, T., 2014, Nov. 10.  U of T logs in to Ontario Online, The Varsity, vol. CXXXV, No. 10, under News.

2014, May, Using the Geospatial Technology Competency Model to Align Curricula with Workforce Needs, Case Summary, CareerOneStop, U.S. Department of Labor.

Elias, Christine, 2014, May 14.  President’s Teaching Award: Don Boyes, U of T News.

Lu, Vanessa. 2011, Aug. 19.  Map publishers facing a rough road, Toronto Star.

I contributed a custom-made map of Canada for the documentary Let’s All Hate Toronto which premiered at the Hot Docs film festival, April, 2007.  My efforts to design my curriculum using the Geospatial Technology Competency Model were featured in a case study on the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Refereed Articles

Haas, Barbara, Aristithes Doumouras, David Gomez, Charles de Mestral, Donald M Boyes, Laurie Morrison, and Avery Nathens. 2015. “Close to Home: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Location of Residence and Location of Injury.” The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 78 (4): 860-865.

Doumouras, Aristithes G, David Gomez, Barbara Haas, Donald M Boyes, and Avery B Nathens. 2012. Comparing Methodologies for Evaluating Emergency Medical Services Ground Transport Access to Time-critical Emergency Services: A Case Study Using Trauma Center Care. Academic Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine 19 (9) (September): E1099–108.

Doumouras, Aristithes G, Barbara Haas, David Gomez, Charles de Mestral, Donald M Boyes, Laurie J Morrison, Alan M Craig, and Avery B Nathens. 2012. The Impact of Distance on Triage to Trauma Center Care in an Urban Trauma System. Prehospital Emergency Care: Official Journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the National Association of State EMS Directors 16 (4): 456–62.

Gomez, David, Barbara Haas, Aristithes G Doumouras, Brandon Zagorski, Joel Ray, Gordon Rubenfeld, Barry A. McLellan, Donald M Boyes, and Avery B Nathens. 2013. A Population-based Analysis of the Discrepancy Between Potential and Realized Access to Trauma Center Care.  Annals of Surgery 257 (1) (January): 160–5.

Non-Refereed Articles

Boyes, Donald M. 2012.  Course Design Institute Case Study: GGR272 Geographic Information and Mapping I, Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation website, July, 2012.

Boyes, Donald M. 2011. GeoDesign as a Teaching ConceptV1 Magazine, Nov. 18, 2011.

Boyes, Donald M. 2011. Engaging New GIS Students with Web MappingV1 Magazine, Aug. 16, 2011.

Boyes, Donald M. 2011. How Do We Reach and Teach Casual GIS Users?V1 Magazine, May 15, 2011.


Canadian Association of Geographers
Online Learning Consortium
Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education